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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 29, 2014 1:00am-3:01am EDT

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and technology hearing with two astronauts aboard the
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international space station. ahead of his visit to india this week, secretary of state john kerry talked about u.s.-india relations at the center for american progress where he urged india to expand trade and do more combat climate change. he also spoke briefly about events in the middle east. this is 45 minutes. we are really honored and thrilled to have the 68th secretary of state john kerry join us today to discuss america's relationship with india. throughout his career, secretary kerry has reinforced the strategic partnership between the united states and india. he supported the crucial civilian nuclear agreement in 2008 and maintained u.s. support for india's full, permanent membership in an expanded u.n. security council. with a new government in india, the country faces challenges and real opportunities.
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prime minister modi came to power with a promise and a mandate to shake up india's economy and redefine the country's role on the world stage. through caps, we hope to work with key stakeholders to build an even stronger relationship and seize on the opportunity for positive change. we are so pleased to have secretary kerry at our inaugural event. secretary kerry has a long and distinguished career in serving his country on the battlefield, in the senate, and now as the face of american diplomacy around the world. for three decades he represented massachusetts in the u.s. senate. in fact, i grew up in bedford, massachusetts, and he was my senator and i am proud to say my mom always voted for him. his service in the u.s. -- i left at 18, but i would have voted for him. his service in the u.s. navy during vietnam made him a leading voice.
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the proud son of a foreign service officer, his understanding of today's foreign policy challenges uniquely qualifies him to be america's top diplomat. since he was sworn into office, secretary kerry has been one of the most active, energetic, and ambitious secretaries in u.s. history. he has dived head first into some of the world's most difficult problems. i know as the world faces greater and greater instability with international crises erupting seemingly daily, it is easy to turn in words. that is why it is so crucial secretary kerry is in this role because throughout his career he has stood for that strand of progressivism that is international in outlook and engaged in the world. that brand of progressivism that believes an engaged america strengthens our own security as
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we work for peace and stability around the world, however hard that is. i know the world is a difficult place and getting more dangerous. but secretary kerry also knows that without active, engaged american leadership, it will get far, far worse. we are lucky to have him in this role. i believe he is truly the man for this moment. secretary kerry, thank you for being here today, for all the support you have had of cap over the years, and it is now my great honor and privilege to introduce secretary of state john kerry. [ applause ] >> thank you very, very much. thank you for confirming to me your mother's fealty.
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i'm deeply appreciative for her support through the years and i'm sorry we lost you when you were 18, but i'm glad you wound up here as is everybody else. we're delighted that you're here. it's a privilege for me to be back at the center for american progress, and i am very, very apologetic for the delay. i know i have kept you all from your appointed rounds and i apologize for that. it's good to get the telephone unglued for a few minutes here. obviously we are still working hard trying to deal with the issue of the crisis in the middle east. i spoke to it a little earlier today, so i'm not going to repeat what i said except to say to all of you that we want to be able to find a way to get to a table to discuss the underlying issues which are real and impactful on everybody and on
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the region, and we hope to be able to find the magic formula by which the violence could cease for a long enough period of time to try to find that sustainable cease-fire which could allow you to move on from there. the region has known violence for far too long. too many innocent people caught in the cross fire. to many lives ruptured, and so it is imperative for all of us in positions of responsibility to do everything we can to try to find a diplomatic way, a peaceful way forward if possible. it is a privilege for me to be back here at the center for american progress. ambassador, thank you for being here representing the embassy, the dcm here. all of our ex-ambassadors and ex-assistant secretaries of defense and otherwise, greatly appreciative for their support and efforts to advance the very crucial relationship between the
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united states and india, and you know at a time when so many people are back in history when they were looking for a lot of simple slogans and silver bullets to cure an immediate problem, which was pretty basic, that the democratic party was out of the white house and sidelined in the minority in both the house and the senate, that's when a guy named john podesta stood up and was determined to get past the day to day ups and downs of the washington echo chamber and helped to shape a progressive policy agenda for governing. john knew then what he practices now in the white house for president obama, good policy is good politics. so -- excuse me.
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let me get rid of my flight here. good policy really does make good politics. i always found that and i have always tried to practice that. under neera tanden's leadership for the last couple years, cap has continued to prove that good ideas are still the most important currency in our political debate, and that is a principle that has also guided cap's work on foreign policy, especially in convening the first intensive climate change dialogue between the united states and india. india 2020 builds on that success by showing how the united states and india together can tackle global challenges from security in the asia-pacific to providing clean energy to delivering more inclusive growth, and vikram and rich are going to help lead us together on that bringing some of the best minds together in
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terms of policy and politics, and i thank you very, very much for your contribution, rich and vikram. thank you for what you're undertaking. it is really a dialogue about what is in most people's currency but not always yet fully blossomed, one of the most important relationships internationally. now, i just got back as i think you all know from a pretty intensive trip to egypt, israel, and the west bank and to europe working to try to find an end to the violence that has threatened our ally, israel, and which has also cost hundreds of innocent lives in gaza and elsewhere. we're -- the fact is that we were able to produce at least the beginnings of a cease-fire
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process, a 12-hour cease-fire, then confusion over four hours and 12 hours, but the bottom line is the concept of that is still appreciated by all and the key now is to find the road, not the question of what. now, there are some in america who question america's efforts, actually not just in america. there are some people who ask this elsewhere, but particularly here they question our efforts to bring peace to various conflicts around the world. i think they ought to ask, what's the alternative? make no mistake, when the people of israel are rushing to bomb shelters, when innocent israeli and palestinian teenagers are abducted and murdered, when hundreds of innocent civilians have lost their lives, i will and we will make no apologies for our engagement. ungoverned spaces threaten us all.
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instability threatens us all. in upholding the rule of law and humanitarian standards are not only national security imperatives, they are the right thing to do. this is who we are, and this is what we do. and, frankly, i think it is what we do with greater gusto, with greater grounding, if you will, in international rule of law and structure than almost, almost any other country. but i want to be very clear about something, and that's why i'm here today. even as we focus on crises and flash points that dominate the daily headlines, even as this happens and they demand our leadership, we will always act with long-term strategic imperatives foremost in our minds and that's why we're here today. you can go to any capital in the
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world, and you can find different nuanced and self-assured perspectives about american foreign policy. but if you were lucky enough to have the top 100 foreign policy thinkers sit in a room together and you ask them to name the most important relationships for which the united states -- with that relationship will most affect the direction of the 21st century, i can guarantee you this, every single one of them would rank the u.s./india relationship right up there in the top tier. so i want to emphasize, the key relationship for the united states, one of the key relationships for the united states in that context is the deepening relationship with india. and particularly trying to deepen our ties with india in terms of our strategic imperatives, both of us.
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it doesn't matter just to us or to india. it actually matters to the world, and that's why in my first months as secretary of state i went to india, and it's no coincidence that, you know, at the time in prime minister modi's first 100 days of his government, i'm now returning to delhi for two days of strategic dialogue and discussion, and it was no accident that in the intervening time we have had many discussions and meetings and the prime minister -- former prime minister singh came here to the white house during that period of time. then, of course, they had an election and as everybody knows for a certain number of months during an election, things tend to be put on hold. now is the time to renew that dialogue with a new government, with a new set of opportunities, new possibilities.
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this is a potentially transformative moment in our partnership with india. we're determined to deliver on the strategic and historic opportunities we can create together. in a globalized world, we recognize that, yes, india is going to have many different partners. that's the nature of the world we're in today. but we believe there are unique opportunities for just the united states and india. and that the dynamism and the entrepreneurial spirit of mumbai and bangalore, of silicon valley and of boston, that is precisely what is required in order to solve some of the world's greatest challenges. president obama is absolutely right to call this a defining partnership for the 21st century. india's new government has won a historic mandate to deliver change and reform, and together we have a singular opportunity
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to help india to be able to meet that challenge, to boost two-way trade, to drive south asia's connectivity. to develop cleaner energy. to deepen our security partnership in the asia-pacific and beyond. the united states and india can and should be indispensable partners for the 21st century and that is, i assure, you the way we approach the modi government. this week secretary pritzker and i will be emphasizing those opportunities as we meet leaders of india's new government. we face, as we all know and neera talked about it and it is true, this is a particularly challenging moment. forces that were pent up for years in the cold war, tampened down by dictatorship and absence
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of freedom to speak have suddenly been released everywhere, and everywhere everybody is in touch with everybody all the time. it changes the face of politics profoundly everywhere. people have more information, more ability to organize, more ability to talk to each other. so we do face a host of critical challenges together, and we face a world in which more young people, more rapidly are demanding more from their governments with too much -- too many places where there's too little response. and that is a challenge for all governance. none more so than what we do to link our economies, india and the united states in order to further our shared prosperity agenda. what we do to strengthen global security and a rules-based international system, how we
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turn the challenges of climate change into an opportunity for greater cooperation and economic growth these are the big challenges, these are opportunities for us. our countries have had a decades' long relationship, and i can personally remember the lingering sense of distrust and suspicion when i went to india at the end of the cold war. i travelled with executives from companies like raytheon and nextel. i remember talking to then finance minister singh about the reforms that were needed and the opening up of the economy and the ability to be able to attract capital and have rules that made sense to everybody, that we all understood. i remember that back then, and i felt then the possibility of the enormous potential of a closer, stronger partnership. and now it's not hard to see how
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in this moment we can actually deliver on that partnership's full promise. the new plan, together with all, development for all, that's a concept, a vision that we want to support. we believe it's a great vision. and our private sector is eager to be a catalyst in india's economic revitalization. american companies lead in exactly the key sectors where india wants to grow. in high-end manufacturing, in infrastructure, in health care, information technology. vital for leapfrogging stages of development so you can provide more faster to more people. india wants to build a more competitive workforce and already 100,000 indians study each year in america's universities. but america's community colleges
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actually set a remarkable standard for 21st century skills training. we should be expanding our educational ties, increasing opportunities for young people in both of our nations. i know prime minister modi drew from that energy of india's youth during his campaign. he repeatedly pointed out that while india is one of the world's oldest civilizations, it has the world's youngest population. prime minister modi has said young people have a natural instinct to rise like a flame and he has spoken about india's duty to nurture that instinct, and we believe, frankly, that's a duty for both of our nations, and that means strengthening the exchange and technical education and vocational programs for high skilled trades and especially in
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areas where we can build on the entrepreneurial innovative spirit of both of our nations. and we all know about the extraordinary work ethic that india have and the capacity to seize this opportunity. one of the marked contrasts of this moment is this juxtaposition to parts of the world where young people demanded a participation in this world they see around them and rose up against leadership that had stultified over the course of years, decades even. tunisia, egypt, syria. they all began without one flake of religious extremism involved in the revolutions that brought change. it was all about young people gathering and forcing the notion that they wanted something more
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to life, they wanted opportunity, education, respect, dignity, jobs, a future. so this possibility i have just defined between india and the united states which fits very neatly into prime minister modi's vision that he expressed in a campaign which was ratified overwhelmingly by the people of his country is exactly the vision we need to embrace now and that's why this opportunity is actually so ripe. this area of cooperation is, you know, particularly exciting i think and i'm particularly confident about these opportunities because only countries that reward creativity the way the united states and india do could have possibly launched hollywood and bollywood. only countries that celebrate the entrepreneur the way we did could have launched silicon valley and bangalore. innovation and entrepreneurship
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are in both of our dna, and they not only make us natural partners, they give us natural advantages in a world that demands adaptability and resilience. the united states and india cannot afford to just sort of sit back and rest on these currently existing advantages. we have to build on them, and we have to build on them by investing more in one another. now, unlike some other nations, the united states cannot direct a private corporation to go invest in a particular country. president obama can't order businesses to build factories in calcutta. it just doesn't happen. but we know this from several hundred years of experience. if india's government delivers on its plans to support greater space for private initiative, if it creates greater openness for
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capital flows, if it limits subsidies that stifle competition, if it provides strong intellectual property rights, believe me even more american companies will come to india. they may even race to india. and with a clear and ambitious agenda, we can absolutely help create those conditions. so as we work with our trading partners around the world to advance trade and investment liberalization, india has a decision to make about where it fits in the global trading system. india's willingness to support a rules-based trading order and fulfill it's obligations will help to welcome greater investment from the united states and from elsewhere around the world. the greater transparency and accountability that prime minister modi put in place during his time as chief minister tells us he has already
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provided a model of how raising standards can actually increase economic growth. now, i believe the united states and india should continue to reach for the ambitious target that vice president biden laid out last summer in india to push from $100 billion to $500 billion a year in trade. and whatever impediments we may face along the way we need to always be mindful of the opportunities and the bigger picture around this. so it's in our -- excuse me. it is completely in our mutual interest to address those obstacles that kind of raise their head here and there as you go along the way and to remember that a lot bigger opportunities
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will come from more robust ties. so we need to keep our eye on the prize out there and not get dragged down by, you know, one small or lesser particular aspect of a restraint. the bigger picture has to guide us and the end game has to guide us. if you have any doubts, just look at the opportunities that ford is creating right now in india. they're doubling production from plants. they're investing $1 billion to make india a global hub for exports. take a look at the jobs tata is creating for americans by expanding automobile design and sales in the united states adding to its 24,000 employees already in this country. india investment creates close to 100,000 jobs right here at home.
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we've also convinced -- we are convinced that just as the united states and india can do more to create shared prosperity, so can india and its neighbors. simply from the size of south asia's market, 1.6 billion consumers, and from india's geography sitting at the center of this dynamic asian continent, the opportunities are leaping out at us. they're just enormous. and just to underscore how untapped this potential is consider this. south asia is the least integrated economic region in the world. fastest growing region in the world, southeast asia. by strengthening trade link was bangladesh, by building on the political opening in burma, by
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increasing trade with the asia-pacific and southeast asia, india can be at the heart of a more connected, prosperous region, so we are deeply committed to helping india grab ahold of these opportunities. that's why the united states is supporting an indo-pacific economic corridor to connect south asia to southeast asia. that's why we're focused on investing in regional infrastructures and then the creation of a regional energy market. and that's why we're supporting new trade routes linking central and south asia with a new silk road initiative. i mean, the possibilities here are gigantic. by inviting leaders from around the region to his swearing in
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and by bringing them together to speak about their economies, he is eager for india to play a leading role, and guess what? so are we. nowhere is that leadership more critical than improving cross border trade and relations between india and pakistan. prime minister modi took the important first step of inviting him to his inauguration. both men are business-minded leaders who want to create opportunity for their people. he was very encouraged, thought it was positive. the possibilities he understood. so improved trade is a win/win for both countries and both peoples, and i know that there are plans for commerce secretaries and foreign secretaries to meet in the coming weeks in order to build on that. i commit to you that the united states will do everything we can to encourage india and pakistan to work together and improve the
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prospects for both prosperity and stability in the region. now, india has already shown a deep commitment to regional stability with the generous investments in afghanistan. at this critical moment of transition and in the coming months, support from all across the international community will be vitally important. in the coming days, i will continue to work closely with president karzai, with the candidates, with the united nations in order to provide afghanistan with support during the transition. and we look forward to working also with india on this and we look forward to india engaging with its neighbors so that afghanistan's connections to the region and the world are defined by the opportunity that they can create together. far beyond afghanistan india's assuming greater responsibilities for regional and global security. as india plays an increasingly
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global role, its interests are served by forging strong partnerships on a broad range of issues. among south asian nations and within international organizations, india should be a global leader. that's why president obama voiced his clear support for a reformed u.n. security council that includes india as a permanent member. for several years india has been a major partner in the fight against piracy in the strait of malacca. even as we speak india and the united states are participating in rim pac and joint naval exercises. secretary hagel will explore broadening our deepening -- the deepening possibilities of our relationship with india when he travels there in early august. counterterrorism is also a challenge to both of our nations. the united states and india are continuing a very close
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partnership in that regard. we began after the horrific mumbai attacks, and then we began to train first responders in order to help protect our citizens. and president obama was crystal clear about the stakes at his west point speech in may. and our two nations have provided one model of how these partnerships can work. our collaboration on counterterrorism and real time information sharing has helped us confront common threats and bring terrorists to justice. but there is obviously room for us to be able to do more. when terrorist attacks took 400 indian lives in 2013 alone, we know that the threat of terrorism remains too real and far too high or india's people.
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confronting terrorism requires our continued partnership and it requires continued vigilance, and it also means leading with our values. india and the united states are two nations that have worked hard to overcome our own divisions so that today we draw strength from pluralism and diversity. we have to provide that example as we work to provide opportunity beyond our borders addressing the conditions that allow extremists to thrive in the first place. i won't tell you where, but i'll tell you i was with a foreign minister of a country in africa recently and we had dinner and we talked, kind of candidly and openly as you can in that situation, and he said to me, you know, i asked him about their muslim population and what was happening. he said, well, "x" percentage of our population is muslim and we're very worried because the bad guys have a strategy. they grab these young minds when they're 13, 14, 15, 16, they pay
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them originally and then when they get the minds they don't pay them anymore, they don't have to. then they send them out to recruit or conduct a mission and they subvert the state. they have a strategy. do we? it's a prime question for all of us. and in so many parts of the world where 60% of the population is under the age of 30, 50% under the age of 21, 40% under the age of 18 and more in some places, if these people don't find jobs and they don't get an education and they don't have opportunity and dignity and respect and a voice, then you know who is going to grab them and say out of frustration there's a better way. that's part of our challenge and responsibility as great global powers, and that's part of how
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we tame the most dangerous impulses of a more interconnected world. one challenge that drives home just how interconnected and interdependent we are on this planet is this challenge of a lifetime called climate change. for millions of indians, extreme weather and resource shortages are not future threats. they are here now. they're endangering their health and prosperity and security every single day. in india's largest rice producing region, west bengal, the monsoon rains have been 50% lower than average this year. this comes after the monsoons all but failed last year in several indian states helping to cause one of the worst droughts in a generation affecting 120 million indians. in parts of northern india, armed bandits have imposed what
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amounts to a water tax demanding 35 buckets a day. so believe me, it is not hard to measure the ways in which climate change every single day is already a catalyst for instability. i can show you places in the world where tribes fight over a well and people are dying because of the absence of water. and while parts of india suffer from a once in a generation drought, others suffer from, guess what? historic rains. when i arrived in india last summer, there was an area grappling with historic floods that killed more than 5,000 people. so climate volatility is clearly taking a toll on india's population and so is pollution. of the ten cities in the world with the worst air quality, six are in india. each year in india the effects of air pollution cause nearly
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1.5 million deaths. so we know what the downsides are, but happily, guess what? we also know what the solutions are. and forging these solutions is a huge economic opportunity for both of us. the solution comes from areas where we already do things very well. where we've already made great progress. where innovation, smarter energy policy, and clean energy technology are already defining the future. let me just share with everybody, reinforce this again and again whenever i get a chance, the solution to climate change is energy policy. it's not some magical unreachable, untouchable thing out there. it's not pie in the sky. it's energy policy. and where we put good energy policy in place we reduce
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emissions and we begin to contribute to the solution. it's a huge market, my friends. i also remind people that the market that created the great wealth of the united states of america during the 1990s, which made americans individually and otherwise richer than they had of been in american history. at the top end it made people richer than they did in the 1920s when we didn't have an income tax, and everybody saw their income go up in the 1990s. you know what that was? a $1 trillion market with 1 billion users. it was the high tech computer, personal computer, et cetera, market. today's energy market is a -- today's energy market is a $6 trillion market now with 4 billion to 5 billion users growing to 9 billion users over the course of the next 30 years by 2050.
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just think about that. it's an opportunity for huge numbers of jobs, for transformation and the provision of our power, transformation in health, lowering the pollution, moving into the new energy sources, providing safety and security in energy so we don't have instability and i could run on in the possibilities, not the least of which are global responsibility to stand up for and leave a cleaner, better, more sustainable earth to our children and our grandchildren. it's a way of living up to our responsibility as stewards of the planet which, by the way, is directed to us in every major scripture of every major religion. now, both of our nations pride ourselves on science and innovation. so the bottom line is this is up to us. it's up to us to deliver. i know prime minister modi understands urgency.
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he's called for a saffron revolution because the saffron color represents energy. he said this revolution should focus on renewable energy. he's absolutely right. together i believe we can at last begin a new constructive chapter in the united states/india climate change relationship. the united states has an immediate ability to make a difference here and we need to eliminate the barriers that keep the best technology out of the indian market, and the united states can help india find and develop new sources of energy through renewable technologies and greater export capacity for liquefied natural gas. already we've brought together more than $1 billion in financing for renewable energy projects, and with this funding we helped to bring india's first 1,000 megawatts of solar power online but we need to build on the u.s./india civil nuclear
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agreement. so that american companies can start building and provide clean power to millions in india. and we need to build on the $125 million investment that we made in joint clean energy research and development center. prime minister modi has also made a commitment to electrify every home in india by 2019. with fewer limits on foreign technology and investment in india's green energy sector, we can help make clean power more cost-effective and more accessible at the same time. we can provide 400 million indians with power without creating emission that is dirty the air and endanger public health. and by working together to help an entire generation of indians leapfrog over fossil fuels, we could actually set an example to the world. so i readily acknowledge that today's climate challenges did
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not start with india, and we know that the united states is the second largest emitter of carbon in the world. the first now being china who have overtaken us, but we also know that we can't solve these problems alone. no one. they require partnership, and our partnership requires our leadership. by acting right now to reduce emissions just as president obama has done here in the united states, by investing in innovation, and by working together in the u.n. climate negotiations we could prevent the most devastating consequences of climate change and meet this generational challenge. lastly, in this century one that will continue to be defined by competing models of government, india and the united states have a common responsibility. we already have it. we share it. to prove that democracies can
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deliver for their citizens. our two nations believe that when every citizen no matter their background, no matter their beliefs can make their full contribution, that is when we are strongest and that's when we're most secure. so we are two confident nations connected by core values, optimistic nations, never losing sight of how much more we can and must achieve. from women's rights to minority rights, there is room to go further with our work together, and we also have to speak with a common voice against the violence against women in any shape or form that is a violation against our deepest values. the united states and india are two nations that began both of their founding documents with exactly the same three words. we, the people.
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and by deepening our partnership we can work together to deliver opportunity to all of our people and become stronger nations. president roosevelt, of course, described america as having a rendezvous with destiny. india's first prime minister, prime minister nehru, spoke about india's tryst with destiny. this can be a moment where our destiny actually do converge, and if we harness our capacity of our two nations, if we deepen our partnership, if we make smart choices, if we seize these opportunities, the united states and india can create a more prosperous and secure future for the world and for one another. that is why i leave for delhi tomorrow night and that is why the president will welcome prime minister modi to washington in september, because this is the moment to transform our strategic relationship into an historic partnership that honors our place as great powers and
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great democracies. we intend to leave not an instant behind us. we are going to get to work now. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, we ask that you please remain in your seats while the secretary makes his exit. thank you. >> on our next jirnl we'll talk to mississippi senator roger wicker about the house senate deal on a veterans health care
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bill and the debate on immigration and border security. texas democratic congressman, beto o'rourke will weigh in on that legislation. later anthony carnevale will discuss workforce training programs. washington journal live each morning at 7:00 eastern on c-span. sunday on book tv's in depth, former republican congressman from texas and presidential candidate ron paul has written more than a dozen books on politics and history with his latest on school resks. join the conversation as he takes your calls, emails and tweets live for three hours sunday august 3rd at noon eastern and tune in next month for author, historian and activist, mary francis barry. in october joan biskupic
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discusses court decisions. michael korda in november. and arthur brooks in december. in depth on c-span's book tv for serious readers. the washington fellowship for young african leaders heard from president obama monday at a summit in washington, d.c. the fellowship includes hundreds of promising leaders from s sub-saharan africa. this is an hour. >> to introduce the president of
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the united states, please welcome washington fellow, faith mingopath. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. you may have a seat. [ laughter ] good morning. young leaders of africa, good morning distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. my name is faith. i'm a broadcaster, business woman and a world changer. but that is who i am. this morning let's talk a little bit about who you are. who are you when the narrative has depicted you as dark? who are you when the shadow of corruption as well as the shadow of instability has caused a
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shadow of your own ingrown greatness? who are you when hunger has been given a face and that face is you? who are you when the mental shackles which emphasize your inability to own your own resources and your wealth just refuse to come down? i say you are the ones that have been chosen to rewrite the narrative. you are the ones -- [ applause ] africa, you are the ones that will testify of the greatness and the light of our african continent. by your works all the world will know that africa is no longer a sleeping giant but that, indeed, it is awake and open for business. [ applause ] we would like to thank president obama's washington fellowship for young african leaders on the
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program that's opened our eyes to endless possibilities which may occur when we no longer see ourselves as island countries within the african continent but rather as a nation, as citizens, as families who are interlinked and draw strength from collective collaboration. ladies and gentlemen, what we learn and engage with one another let us remain resolved in this fact. we are the ones who are africa's best solution. [ applause ] so young leaders of africa, join me in this, to welcome the president of the united states. [ applause ] he is the leader, the believer of young people.
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>> hello, everybody! hello. hello, everybody. thank you. thank you. thank you so much. everybody, please have a seat. have a seat. we are just getting -- we're just getting started here. well, hello, everybody. [ applause ] welcome to washington.
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i know most of you are visiting our country for the first time so on behalf of the american people, welcome to the united states of america. [ applause ] we are -- we are thrilled to have you here and to everybody who is watching online across africa or at watch parties or following through social media, you are a part of this too and we're very glad you're with us. and can everybody please give faith a big round of applause for the great introduction. [ applause ] i have to say faith didn't seem very intimidated. she seemed not lacking in confidence. and she's doing great work in south africa to empower young people and young entrepreneurs, especially women. now i'm not here to give a big speech. the whole idea of a town hall is
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for me to be able to hear from you. but first, i want to speak briefly about why i believe so strongly in all of you being here today. next week i'll host a truly historic event, the u.s.-africa leaders summit where nearly 50 presidents and prime ministers attend from just about all of your countries. it will be the largest gathering any american president has ever hosted with african heads of state and government. and the summit reflects a principle that's guided my approach to africa ever since i became president. that the security and prosperity and justice that we seek in the world cannot be achieved without a strong and prosperous and self-reliant africa. even as we deal with crises and challenges in other parts of the world that often dominate our headlines, even as we acknowledge the real hardships that so many africans face every
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day, we have to make sure that we're seizing the extraordinary potential of today's africa. which is the youngest and fastest growing of the continents. so next week's summit will focus on how we can continue to build a new model of partnership between america and africa. a partnership of equals that focus on your capacity to expand opportunity and the strengthen democracy and promote security and peace, but this can't be achieved by government alone. it demands the active engagement of citizens, especially young people. so that's why four years ago i launched the young african leaders initiative to make sure we're tapping into the talent of young africans like you. [ applause ] since then we partnered with thousands of young people across the continent. empowering them with the skills
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and training and technology they need to start new businesses, to spark change in their communities, to promote education and health care and good governance. and last year in south africa at a town hall like this in soweto, some of you were there i announced the next step which was the washington fellowship for young african leaders. the objective was to give young africans the opportunity to come to the united states and develop their skills as the next generation of leaders in civil society and business and government and the response was overwhelming. across the continent young men and women set out on a journey in remote village, phones and internet. they traveled by bus and train to reach larger towns and cities just to get an online application for the program. one young woman from rural zimbabwe took a five hour bus ride, another six hour bus ride, another seven hour bus ride, a
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two day journey just to get her interview. ultimately some 50,000 extraordinary young africans applied. and today they are at the heart of what we're calling our network the online network across africa sharing their ideas and forging collaborations to realize the change they seek. i want everyone out there in the network to know you're the foundation of our partnership with africa's youth. today we're thrilled to welcome you our washington fellows to an exchange program unlike any other that america ever has had with africa. among your ranks is that young woman from zimbabwe who endured all those bus rides so we want to welcome abigail. where is abigail? [ applause ] where is she? there's abigail.
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[ applause ] that's a lot of bus rides. [ laughter ] now, i do have a first item of business. as i said, i launched this fellowship in soweto not far from the original home of nelson mandela and the spirit of this program reflects his optimism, his idealism, his belief in what he called the endless heroism of youth. and so today with the blessing of the mandela family to whom we're so grateful, we're proud to announce that the new name of this program is the mandela washington fellowship. [ applause ] you're the first class of mandela washington fellow. [ applause ] that's right.
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so now i know all of you have been busy. all of you have been busy at some of america's top colleges and universities. you've been learning how to build grassroots organizations and how to run a business, how to manage an institution. as one of you said my brain has been bubbling with all sorts of ideas. you've been developing your own ideas to address the challenges at next week's summit. i've read some of the recommendations that were produced at each university and college and i thought they were outstanding pieces of work. and that's what i want you to hear today. your ideas. your vision for africa. here at this summit you're going to engage with some of our nation's leading voices including some who you can't wait to see who is michele obama because --
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[ applause ] -- but many members of congress who are strong supporters of this program are also here. where are members of congress. i know we got a few. there you are. [ applause ] so some outstanding members of congress are here. you'll get a chance to meet some of them and i know some of you are headed off to internships in our nation's leading companies and organizations. one of you said i'll take what i learned and put it into practice back home and that's the whole idea. and i want to say, by the way, i took some pictures with some of the university officials who have hosted all of you and uniformly they said they could not have been more impressed with all of you and what a great job you did in engaging and taking advantage of the program. so thank you. [ applause ] i know you also have been experiencing america as well. the places that make us who we are, including my hometown of chicago.
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you experienced some of our traditions like a block party. you've experienced some of our food, faith said she ate a lot of texas barbecue when she was in austin. you really like that barbecue, huh? you got the whole longhorn thing going on and all that. and americans have been learning from you as well because every interaction is a chance for americans to see the africa that so often is overlooked in the media. the africa that's initiativive and dynamic and growing. a new generation on facebook and twitter creating new ways to connect. i see some of you tweeting this town hall. although mostly i see these guys shifting into the seat over and over again, so everybody can get a picture. don't think i didn't notice. you all just -- you need to stay in your chairs.
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everybody thinks they are slick. so -- so -- so the point is our young leaders, our young africa leaders initiative is a long term investment in your and africa and the future we can build together and today i want to announce some next steps that i think are important. first, given the extraordinary demand for this fellows program we'll double it so that in two years we'll welcome 1,000 mandela washington fellows to the united states of america. [ applause ] so that's good news. second, we'll do even more to support young entrepreneurs with new grants to help you start a business or a nonprofit. and training thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs in smaller towns in rural areas and given the success for our annual global entrepreneurship summit i can announce that next year's summit will be hosted for the
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first time in sub-saharan africa. [ applause ] third, we're launching a whole new set of tools to empower young africans through our network, new online courses and mentoring, new ways to meet up and network across africa and around the world. new training sessions and meetings with experts on how to launch start ups. and it all begins today and to get started all of you, all you have to do is go to y yali.state..gov. we're creating new leadership centers. we're joining with american universities, african institution and private sector partners like microsoft and mastercard foundation we want to
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thank two of them. they are helping to finance this. give microsoft and mastercard foundation a round of applause. [ applause ] starting next year young africans can come to these centers to access the latest technology and get training in management and entrepreneurship and we're starting in senegal, ghana, south africa and kenya. [ applause ] and we aim to help tens of thousands of young africans access the skills and resources they need to put their ideas into action. so the point of all this is we believe in you. i believe in you. i believe in every one of you who are doing just extraordinary things. like this woman. she saw a close friend die during child birth. she helps train birth attendants
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and deliver kits with sterile slice and help save lives of countless mothers and babies. we want to thank her. we want her to save even more lives. or to give you another example, robert from uganda. so there's robert. so, robert is deaf. but even though he can't hear he can see that the stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities must end. he's been their champion. he's standing up for the rights in schools and on the job. so thank you, robert. we want to be your partner in standing up for the universal rights of all people. i believe in mom.
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[ applause ] all right. so, in senegal she's taking a stand against the human trafficking that condemns too many women and girls to forced labor and sexual slavery. she runs an academy that gives them education and skills to find a job and start new lives. we're so proud of you. thank you for the good work you're doing. we want to help you help these young women and girls to have a future of dignity that we want for every women all across the continent and all around the world. i believe in hastings. where is hastings. in rural malawi he saw town in darkness without electricity. he gathers scrap metal, build
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generators on his porch and takes them down to farmers. we want to help you power africa. everybody here has a story. we believe in all of you. we see what's possible. and we see that the vision that all of you have -- not because of what you've seen here in america but because what you've already done back home, what you see in each other and what you see in yourself. so, another person from senegal. he has a wonderful quote. he said, he has a wonderful
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quote, he said here i have met africa, the africa i have always believed in. she's beautiful, she's young, she's fuel of talent, and ambition. that's a good description. being here with all of you and learning together and working together and dreaming together has only strengthened his determination he said to realization for my country. so to everyone across africa who joins our young leaders initiative, i want to thank you for inspiring us with your talent and motivation and your ambition. you got great aspirations for your countries and continent and as you build that brighter future that you imagine, i want to make sure that the united states of america will be your friend and partner every step of the way. thank you very much, everybody. let's get a few questions and comments in this town hall, all right.
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[ applause ] all right. okay. i know this is a rowdy crowd. first of all, i want everybody to sit down. sit down. now, i'm not going to be able to call on everybody, so just a couple of rules. number one, don't start standing up and waving or shouting. just raise your hand and i will try to select from the audience and i'll try to take as many questions as possible so let's keep the questions or comments relatively brief and i'll try to give a brief answer. although if you ask me what are we going to do about ending war then that may require a longer answer. so we'll see how it goes. that's rule number one. rule number two we should have microphones in the audience so wait -- when i call on you wait until the microphone comes. an attendant will hold it in
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front of you. please introduce yourself. tell us what country you're from and ask your question or make your remark. number, two just to make sure it's fair we'll go boy, girl, boy, girl. in fact, we're going to go girl, boy, girl, boy. that's what we'll do. one of the things we want to teach about africa is how strong the women are and how we got to empower women. all right. so, let's see who we're going to call on first. this young lady right here. right here. wait until the mic is there and then here, there is somebody right behind you who has the microphone. introduce yourself and welcome. >> thank you, mr. president. i'm from south africa. and my question is, previously nelson mandela has inspired the
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foundation of the sovereign african fund for enterprises. it has run for two decades and has since been stopped. is there any chance to develop another fund for enterprises in africa? >> it's a great question. one of the things that's been interesting in not only some of the platforms that you developed at your universities but also during my trips to africa is the degree to which young africans are less interested in aid and more interested in how can they create opportunity through business and entrepreneurship and trade. not to say that we do not need to deal with very serious challenges in terms of poverty. we need to make sure we're continuing to work on behalf of
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the least of these. but what i think everybody recognizes is that if you want sustained development and sustained opportunity and sustained self-determination, then the key is to, to own what is produced. and to be able to create jobs and opportunity organically and indy againously and then be able to meet the world on equal terms. so part of the challenge in entrepreneurship is financing. and for so many individuals across the continent it's just very difficult to get that initial start up money and the truth is that in many communities around africa it's not that you need so much, but you need something, that little seed capital. and so what we would like to do
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is to work with programs that already are existing to find out where the gaps in terms of financing, and then to make sure that we are utilizing the resources that we have in the most intelligent way possible. to target young entrepreneurs to create small and medium size businesses all across the continent that hopefully grow into large businesses. and if we're supplementing that kind of financing with the training and networking that may be available through yali we can see the blossoming of all kinds of entrepreneurial activities all across the continent that eventually grow into larger businesses. so we're very interested in this. this is a primary focus of the summit that we have with african leader next week how do we make
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sure financing is available and by the way, how do we make sure the financing doesn't just go to those already at the top. how do we make sure it filters down. you know, you shown have to be the son of somebody or daughter of somebody -- [ applause ] -- you should be able to get -- if you got a good idea, you should be able to test that idea. and be judged on your own merits. and that's where i think we can help bypass what oftentimes and sadly too many countries assist them in which you have to know somebody in order to be able to finance your ideas. one thing i do want to say, keep in mind, even in the united states, if you're starting a business, it's always hard getting financing. so there are a lot of u.s.
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